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Building Bridges:Close Rikers Island NYC Jail Now Rally

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Building Bridges:Close Rikers Island NYC Jail Now Rally

Building Bridges: Your Community and Labor Report
National Edition
Produced by Ken Nash and Mimi Rosenberg
Attend the rally to close the notorious jail marked by violence and
corruption and impervious to substantive reform: Close Rikers Island!
former inmates and family members of those who are or have been
incarcerated on Rikers Island; along with 98 ADVOCACY with
speakers including Emily Althaus, actor from Orange Is The New
Black; Akeem Browder, Criminal Justice Advocate and brother of
Kalief Browder; Daniel Dromm, NYC Council Member; Corey
Johnson, NYC Council Member; Aber Kawas, Lead Organizer of the
Arab American Association of New York; Glenn E. Martin, Founder
and Pres. of JustLeadershipUSA; Vivian Nixon, Executive Director
of College & Community Fellowship; Johnny Perez, Appointed to
the NYS Advisory Committee to U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
and many more speak out about the injustices happening every
day on Rikers Island. Special performance by the Peace Poets

New York City, held more slaves in the 18th century than any other city except
for Charleston. Itâs no surprise then that many of the buildings, streets, banks,
and plenty of other New York City landmarks carry the names of slaveowners
or slavery supporters. Count Rikers Island city jail among that batch. The island
the jail sits on is named for Abraham Riker (or Abraham Rycken), a Dutch
immigrant who acquired the land in the early 17th century, and whose family
owned it until selling it to the city in 1884. Abrahamâs descendant Richard
Riker was infamous in the 1800s for supporting the Fugitive Slave Act to send
(or sell) African Americans in New York to slave owners in the South. This jail
is âthe spider at the center of the webâ of New Yorkâs role in the slave trade.
Its history threads through its present and supports the cry to Shut It Down!

Weâll bring you highlights of the rally to Shut Rikers Down! Johnny Perez, a
member of the Jails Action Coalition who experienced solitary confinement
himself, Akeem Browder the brother of Kalief Brower, who tragically
became the face of everything wrong with Rikers when he committed suicide
after spending three years there--two of them in solitary--because his family
couldn't afford the bail when he was charged with allegedly stealing a
backpack say SHUT IT DOWN!

Kalief's brother Akeem Browder spoke about how his brother refused to
take a plea bargain "because he didn't want his words to fall on deaf ears,
and since he [Kalief] didn't take a plea bargain, our justice system failed him,
our mental health system failed him, our police departments failed him."
Protesters also highlighted the gruesome deaths inside Rikers of Bradley
Ballard and Jerome Murdough, the high rate of sexual assault against female
inmates, and the rampant abuse of adolescents and people with mental
healthissues. Darren Mack of JustLeadershipUSA was incarcerated on
Rikers Island in the early 1990s and called it the "Abu Ghraib of New York
City." He said the jail "should be closed immediately to send a message to
Americans to let them know that we can't have torture chambers" in this
country. A representative from the Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated
Confinement railed against the bail system that keeps the working poor on
Rikers for months and even years on end: "If all the people who couldn't pay
bail were let go, the population on] Rikers would likely be the number it was
initially designed to hold."
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as well as internet stations:

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